New 300 Review milestone

Bee3 cleanerWe are delighted to announce that we have passed the 300 Checkatrade reviews milestone. That’s almost 1 review per day since we started advertising our business on Checkatrade –

300So thanks to all our wonderful customers, we have been delighted to have serviced you and look forward to providing a quality service in the future. Why not check out what our customer say at


Derek’s diary

Bee3 cleanerDerek’s been a busy bee this week. We’ve been all over the North East fixing boilers and central heating systems.

Our best job was to help out Nancy who had no heating at all. We arrived to find her boiler in about 100 pieces – not ideal; this is how the last gas fitter has left it. On closer inspection of the Ideal Icos HE24 we found that the condensate trap with clogged with boiler debris. 2017-11-19-PHOTO-00000004

This would have made the combustion chamber fill up with water and eventually stop the boiler because it was under water! The solution was quite simple – the trap needed to be cleared of all the black sludge and then the whole boiler needed to be flushed through with 10 kettles of boiling water. And that’s what we did.

After it was flushed out and a quick clean of the electronic sensors we fired it and it worked! Nancy said in her review, “The boiler stopped working. I asked quite a few plumbers for fixing but no one was sure to get it fixed. I asked Boiler Bee for a quote of a new boiler but he said he could fix it. What a surprise! And he did! We really appreciate and would recommend him to my friend!”

Bee3 cleanerDerek’s also been busy fitting Nest internet thermostats this week. We’ve fitted two actually. One was used to Nestcontrol the under floor heating at a terraced property in North Shields, the second was a traditional heating system in Whitley Bay, both customers were delighted with the operation and control they have of their heating systems.

Boiler Bee – New name new challenges


We are delighted to announce we are changing our name and placing a greater emphasis on our domestic plumbing and heating business.

Macoun Energy Limited was formed in 2015 as a business designed to offer energy consultancy and then later plumbing and heating services to business and domestic customers in the North East, we have now decided to narrow down the business to offer just plumbing and heating services and felt that the name Boiler Bee would be a better name to demonstrate the type of business we are offering.

Over the past 3 years we have worked on hundreds of boiler, central heating systems, radiators and gas appliances such as gas fires and cookers. In that time it has become evident that there is shortage of businesses who can skilfully service and repair gas appliances. Far too often we have heard from customers that they have been told their boiler or gas fire is unsafe, obsolete and at the end of its life. As a gas safe engineer I know that if a boiler is unsafe it must be either repaired or replaced. However, all too often, the easier and more expensive option of replacing is chosen. In some cases this may be because the gas engineer doesn’t feel confident in repairing the boiler or it may be that the company strategy is not to repair.

My background is as a Mechanical Engineer, I have been taking machines apart and trying to put them back together for over 40 years! I believe everything can be fixed and so I promise to explore every angle and implement every repair before condemning a boiler.

So our new philosophy is:-

Bee3 cleaner


BEE SMART – Fix your boiler


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BEE WISE – Maintain your boiler


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We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Quality Plumber Week 2017

Quality Plumber Week 2017The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors Ltd (APHC) has launched “Quality Plumber Week 2017”, which will run from 2 to 8 October, aims to promote high quality plumbing and heating services by educating customer how they can find a reliable plumber or heating engineer.

They offer various guides on their website, at as well as having their own directory of members who are quality checked.

Our own advice would be to search Checkatrade for a plumber or heating engineer in your area and if it within our local you will find Macoun Energy popping up near the top of the list where you can read the 271 reviews we have, of which 99% are over 9/10.image

WE are supporting this initiative as the industry braces itself for the winter months when business volumes rise as people place greater stress on their heating and hot water systems.

As a special offer we are offering 5 boiler services for FREE on a first come first served basis, just click on this page INFORMATION to log your interest and email us at


No such thing as obsolete!

Are you signed up to one of the big utility companies and getting your annual service for £25/month? If so then you should taka closer look at their business strategy, which is:-

1. Do as little work as possible at the annual service in order to:-

2. Allow parts to breakdown causing the customer aguish, which:-

3. Adds weight to their rhetoric that the spare parts are hard to get and :-

4. Therefore you should install a new boiler in order to give british gasyou peace of mind, oh and :-

5. Continue to pay us £ 300 per year for breakdown cover which is already provided by the manufacturer’s 10 year warranty. 

This is a scam…..

Obsolete boilers

Don’t fall for it, listen to Mr McArdle of Whitley Bay:- Related image

“Boiler declared full of sludge and a new one required by a heating engineer sent by Corgiplan. In the process of getting quotes I called Richard. He had a look and stated it was repairable. During the process he removed the heat exchanger and pipes to show me there was no sludge present. After extensive investigation Richard identified the problem and fixed it. The life of boiler has been extended by at least 10 years. I have no hesitation in recommending Richard who will be servicing my boiler from now on.”

0020068957-Vaillant-Connection-Tube-zoom[1]Mr McArdle’s boiler had the classic fault of decaying rubber hoses inside his boiler, this is a common fault and certainly not a death knell. Vaillant make replacement parts which are easily fitted in about an hour. Unfortunately the diverter valve had also packed in so this was replaced as well. In changing the valve I had to remove most of the internal  ’organs’ which proved to be fortuitous as I could show Mr McArdle that there was no mysterious sludge.

Or hear what Mr Pearce had to say in New York:-

“Richard at Macoun saved us approx. £1,600 after advice we had from other gas fitters was we needed a new boiler, Richard was very honest and said this wasn’t necessary and with a few replacement parts would be fine, his workmanship is excellent and most importantly he is very honest, reasonably priced and always on hand to speak to whenever needed I would strongly recommend using Richard at Macoun, and he is who we’ll be using for any issues we encounter all the time in the future.”

Mr Pearce has an old Ideal RS30 which had been installed when the houses were built in Image result for ideal rs30January 1993, so 24 years old. The boiler has a permanent pilot light and feeds its heat via an open vented system to the cylinder and radiators. The boiler has a seasonal efficiency of 79% and with regular maintenance should last for 30 years.

The customers where having problems restarting the pilot light after it had gone out. I dismantled the whole assembly and cleaned the jets, reassembled it and it worked fine; it looked like it had not been properly serviced in 23 years!

If your boiler is unreliable its probably because its been neglected for many years, call us and we’ll fix it.

Gas Safety Week

This week is Gas Safety week. Its a chance to elevate the importance of gas safety and broadcast to the public what is meant by gas safety.gas safe man

What is it?

What is Gas Safety? – there are two main areas:-

1. Gas leaks – is gas escaping into your house? If so there could be an explosion which could kill or seriously harm you, your family or passers.

2. Poisonous fumes – when we burn gas we produce fumes, usually CO2 and water vapour but if a boiler or gas fire is not burning properly it can produce CO (Carbon Monoxide) which is very poisonous. The production of CO is much more common than a gas leak because flues can get blocked (by builders or birds nests) or careless actions such as using a disposable barbeque in a tent are carried out by the public.

CO can easily come from car engines, small petrol generators, gas fire, gas cookers and any form of fire be it wood, plastic or paper when used in unventilated spaces. As soon as the fire uses up all of the oxygen in the room it starts removing oxygen from the CO2 leaving CO, which is deadly.

CO poisoning symptoms –

CO symptoms

Risks in our area – NE30

Gas Safe Register has found a significant number of unsafe appliances over the least 12 months. As the graphic below shows there are appliances at risk and people’s lives in danger.


The website – is designed to allow you to call in a Gas Safe Engineer or remind you to do so in the future when you’re next at home. We would certainly urge you to seriously consider getting your appliances checked and a CO detector fitted.

Getting to grips with the 3 port valve–gravity system

Motorised Mid-position Valve - 3 Port 22mmMany houses use a traditional gravity system where there is a water tank in the loft for the hot water cylinder usually located on the landing. This system was very common before the combi boiler came along about 30 years ago. To make matters even simpler the heating companies devised a 3 port valve to allow the use to set heating, hot water or heat and hot water programmes on the mechanical timer.

The wiring of these 3 port valves is quite straight forward but with there being so many combi boilers in existence now the skills and knowledge have faded away as older heating engineers have retired. These wiring systems were called Y plan systems because the “Y” looks like the way the hot water flows.

If you have problems with your heating or hot water is worth knowing what is supposed to be going on so you can give a heating engineer a reasonable explanation of what’s happening.

Open all hours

The first thing to know is that that the valve is set to be open to the hot water cylinder when its off. This means that when ever the boiler is running the cylinder will be heating unless it has reached its temperature. The controller can be set to heating off which powers the 3 port valve to close the route open to the cylinder.

When the three port is valve is used on an unvented cylinder, as this a closed, pressurised system, there is a secondary safety device which is a zone valve fitted after the 3 port valve and before the cylinder. This is a normally open valve like the 3 port valve but accepts a “heat satisfied” signal from the cylinder stat which then closes the valve to make sure it doesn’t overheat, this is a G3 Building regulation.


 Visio-Y plan with Unvented cylinder with wires

You can see from the above wiring diagram that the boiler is switched on via the cylinder stat and not by the zone or 3 port valve. It also shows that the cylinder stat controls the zone valve and switches it to closed when the cylinder heat is “satisfied”, the black wire.

Once this principle is understood it’s relatively easy to fault find what’s going on with the system and will lead the engineer to either the cylinder stat, controller or 3 port valve.

Good luck.

Macoun become Worcester Accredited Installer

We are delighted to announce that we are now Worcester Accredited Installers. Worcester imageThe qualification means that we now offer 1 year’s more warranty on Worcester boilers that other plumbers not accredited.

The qualification process, which was a one day residential course in Wakefield, was a mixture of technical understanding, knowledge of the Worcester range and understanding of the Worcester Customer Service experience.

As we are already Gas Safe registered and have fitted almost every boiler in the range we easily qualified for the technical part of the assessment. The Customer Service offering from Worcester is especially unique for a boiler manufacturer. Their approach is to fix the problem and ask questions later; unlike some (contractors and boiler manufacturers) who will start looking at the small print and trying to evade their obligation. This approach is very much in line with Macoun’s ethos as we believe that everyone can make mistakes and its best to minimise the stress to customers as soon as possible. Usually there is a very simple reason for a problem and an open and emphatic approach releases much of the stress and tension.

We hope therefore to be selected as a boiler installer of choice and if you need a new boiler we hope you might consider Macoun Energy Limited.

High tech solution to blocked microbore

We have recently been working for a client who lives on a housing development that was built in 1999. The whole of the development was fitted with a heating system that used micro-bore (10mm) plastic pipework for the last 2-3m of pipework before it was attached to the radiator valves.

The systems were fitted with low quality hot water cylinders and boilers, which have in turn, been replace. We replaced the hot water cylinder about a month ago.

This style of installation, which is now 18 years old, has not worn well. Large amounts of debris have collected in the small bore pipes leading to the blocking of one radiator after another. In this house 5 radiators were effected; this is in addition to the 3 radiator done a few years earlier.

We have worked with blocked radiator pipes in the past and have taken the approach of firstly flushing each individual radiator and pipework and then in that’s not enough, rodding the pipework with a wire pipe cleaner. Unfortunately this didn’t prove to be effective and so the decision was taken to replace the 10mm pipework with 15mm.

File 29-05-2017, 17 48 18The clients cleared their bedroom and landing of all furniture and carpets and we set about lifting floor boards to access the supply pipework. The next part of the work was to cut up the weyroc to allow new pipework to be connected to new 15mm radiator valves.

Once again the flooring was carefully cut with a vacuum linked circular saw which was effective in reducing the dust created. 2017-05-18 11.18.19



The previous 10mm pipes were pulled through the walls and capped off. The new pipes were notched through the floor joists and secured.

Once the pipe work was replaced the system was refilled and another cleaning additive added to finally flush out the remaining debris. The product was a very severe acid that could not be left in the pipework as it would have a detrimental effect on the aluminium alloy heat exchanger located inside the Worcester boiler. 2017-05-20 15.10.53

Therefore before the final balancing could take place the system was thoroughly flushed through with clean water until Ph7 was achieved, this was measure using Litmus papers.

Hydronic balancing

The next part of the work was to balance all the radiators so that an equal amount of heat reached each room. In the past this has been done using the skill and experience of the plumber who would go round the house adjusting “lock shield” valves as each radiator warms up. Alpha3[6]Grundfos, a leading domestic pump manufacturer have devised a more scientific system where the pump monitors the pressures on each radiator in turn and then tell you where to set the lock shield valves.

The pump is fitted with a detachable remote reader which collects the pressure and flow data and transmits it via Bluetooth to your App on your phone.

Once the set up data has been entered and the base flow calculated its relatively simple and quick to set each radiator. File 29-05-2017, 18 14 53The image below is directly from the iPhone App which as you can see is a dial which shows the correct flow value when the radiator is balance with others in the system.

The net result is a full balanced system using a highly efficient pump which Grundfos claim could save you up to 20% of your heating costs as well as savings from running the pump which is the most efficient pump in its class.


More details are available at Grundfos’s website :

Finally our client left us a great review on Checkatrade – 

Although this work was quite intrusive Richard carried it out with minimum mess and disruption to our water supplies. Once the pipes were replaced he refilled and bled our heating system and balanced our radiators using the latest Grundfos Alpha 3 pump, which allows precise balancing of the radiator flows using a mobile app. Very neat. He also sorted out a long term electrical problem I’ve had with the heating for years. Once again excellent job. Thank you. Mr L. Whickham

The sky’s the limit in this industry

Image result for female trainee engineerSo how do you go about becoming a heating engineer or gas fitter. Well, the traditional route is to complete an apprenticeship in a mechanical or electrical trade such as a plumber, pipe fitter, general fitter or heating engineer. There are routes via short courses if you are transferring from a desk job such as a teacher or police officer, however there is really no substitute for hands on experience as this is where you will come face to face with your limitations (in either route) and learn how to overcome these hurdles.


They say that you never stop learning and that couldn’t be more true in engineering. Everyday all plumbers and heating engineers, as well as apprentices, are faced with new and exciting challenges, its one of the great parts of the job. How do we go about solving them? Everyone has their own methods and processes Image result for brain like googlebut I should say in general we access the many years of experience like a internet search engine looking for similar key works (actions) we completed in the past. The brain is a fantastic store of all of these lessons with the best lessons being the ones that occur when something goes wrong, for some reason the brain prioritises these at the top of the list just like Google ranks the best matches to your search criteria at the top of their millions of hits. So the key to overcoming the hurdles in banking the lessons and the way lessons are learnt is to try something new and exciting every day.

It takes tow to tango

New Picture (85)We are actually great believers that along with the practical know-how of how things fail and how to make them better and put them back together, it’s essential to know the science or engineering behind the cause of the problem. Sometimes for that it requires some back ground reading. At a recent job an Alpha boiler was giving an overheat signal because the air pressure switch was faulty. The (micro-electronic) engineering behind the switch problem is something called switch bouncing where the micro computer does not register the switch opening and closing cleanly but instead see it bouncing open and closed causing multiple switching events which indicate to the boilers microcomputer that the burners must be switching on and off rapidly and therefore there must be an overheat problem. see full explanation of switch bouncing  at:-

Therefore the way to resolve this fault is to replace the switch so the contact and release of the switch is much cleaner. There is a multitude of knowledge out there in our industry which can be accessed by attending manufacturer’s courses but also by just talking to the technical help desks at the boiler manufacturers. Building up this knowledge will make your work more efficient, allow you to solve problems in a shorter time and give the impression that you really know your trade and are passionate about every aspect.

Financing a new boiler

We were delighted to hear that Graham’s the Plumbers Merchants and Zanussi Boilers have been working together to launch a product financing scheme that might suite some homeowners.

The Zanussi boiler is actually an Ideal Logic boiler with the branding of Zanussi. Many people will know of the problems with the heat exchangers in these boilers, however the boiler comes with a 10 year parts and labour warranty as long as you have the boiler serviced every year.

New Picture (86)New Picture (87)





This should mitigate some the worries that some homeowners may have and in any case the replacement of the heat exchanger outside the warranty period (> 10 years), should be seen as spreading the cost of the work (c.£500) over the 10 years of peace of mind the customer has had for the life time of the warranty.

Where there is a very simple installation the customer may find the cost of the work to be not far off £1500 which they offer at a low rate of interest over up to to 120 months at as low as £18 per month.


We are able to organise these finance terms for customer who have acceptable credit histories.